A photographer for Associated Press who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize is accused of having terrorist ties in Iraq, according to BBC News and other news agencies.
The photographer, Bilal Hussein, has been accused of being a “terrorist media operative” by the US military; his case is expected to be passed to Iraqi judges who will decide if he will face trial on formal charges. Meanwhile, his lawyers have claimed they have been denied access to Hussein and the evidence against him. (AP attorneys have refuted the charges, as reported by AP inself.) The story has been followed for more than a year by bloggers, and it was reported on our Photography Newswire in September 2006.
The Iraqi photographer remains in detention while calls for his release have been backed by media advocacy groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists.
According to a story at CNN.com, Hussein’s work (such as the image above) was one source of suspicion because the photographer was often able to arrive at the sites of terrorists attacks so quickly that he was suspected of having advance notice.
Whatever the outcome, the case is shaping up to be a flash point for issues including the treatment of terrorist suspects, the rights to due process and a fair trial, and media access during wartime. We’ll be keeping close watch. — Jack Crager